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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mass Layoffs Decline
by Tom Moeller  March 22, 2011

The overall U.S. employment picture has improved as mass layoffs continue to decline. The Labor Department indicated that layoffs last month of 50 or more persons from a single firm fell 13.4% from February, 2010. Though the rate of decline slowed from 30.2% last year, the seasonally adjusted level hit its lowest since April, 2008.

Most sectors have seen a significant decline in layoffs, led by the construction and finance & insurance industries. Elsewhere, firming job markets have been accompanied by lesser declines following notable improvement last year. Exceptions include information, health care & social assistance and government where declines this year followed  increases in 2010.

A mass layoff involves at least 50 initial claimants from a single establishment filing during a consecutive 5-week period. The BLS data are available in Haver's USECON database. Underlying state and area detail are available in the REGIONAL database.

Mass Layoffs February January 2010 2009 2008
Total (SA) 1,421 1,534 19,350 28,236 21,689
Total (Y/Y) -13.4% -10.6% -30.2% 32.6% 36.4%
 Private Nonfarm -15.8 -11.6 -33.2 32.2 38.3
  Construction -37.3 -0.9 -20.2 18.4 22.6
  Manufacturing -21.3 -28.0 -53.0 40.1 48.0
  Retail Trade -10.9 -6.9 -19.9 34.9 39.0
  Information 45.0 -36.9 -27.1 38.0 42.3
  Finance & Insurance -31.3 -34.0 -36.5 22.6 8.2
  Health Care & Social Assistance -9.7 21.7 5.0 16.4 28.9
 Government -12.7 -0.8 5.3 58.2 29.3
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